With Christmas now in the rearview mirror, I feel safe to share with you all what I’ve asked Santa for, and because it’s me it was all, of course, Wrestling related. But instead of a Sheamus 4:15 t-shirt or John Cena gravy boat I’ve actually asked for what I want to see happen in 2016. To increase my chances I’ve actually been a bit realistic, so Santa doesn’t have to work so hard with the politics.
Sami Zayn Vs Kevin Owens At Wrestlemania
I think this one is one of the most likely to happen now that Sami Zayn has returned. While the obvious barrier is that Kevin Owens is now on the main roster while Zayn has remained on NXT, this would be the perfect debut feud for Zayn’s step up to the big time. While their NXT matches were very good, I know they can take it to the next level because of their work together in ROH when they had multiple big matches when Zayn was El Generico, but that’s not the prime reason I want this to happen at Wrestlemania.
It’s because it’s an opportunity to finish the story of Owens crippling Zayn, taking his NXT Championship and causing the injury that sidelined him until now. It would require storyline from NXT to be directly incorporated into the main show, something the WWE doesn’t seem too keen on but surely, in this case, it’s what’s best for business. Besides it gives the WWE an opportunity to resolve a long-term story, something nearly forgotten in today’s landscape, as by Mania it will be just over a year since Owens did the damage at Takeover. Above all, it’s a Wrestlemania moment-in-waiting, with the heroic face finally getting his revenge on the obvious heel and this one I really want to see.
Undertaker To Retire
With each year that passes it feels like the chances of The Undertaker retiring with his incredible legacy and aura intact diminish that much more, so I ask for this with everyone’s best interests at heart. Knowing the matches that came afterwards and the resonance of the moment, I think Undertaker’s best moment to step down would have been Wrestlemania XXVII, not to have it as a retirement match but still have the streak extend to 20-0 and bill it as the end of an era. The match was the last really great one in a sequence that Taker had been having with Shawn Michael’s and Triple H and would have capped everything, as well as you, could.
What we’ve had instead is matches ranging from the good (Lesnar at Hell in a Cell) to the outright bad (Lesnar, Wyatt at Mania), which for the run he was on for quite a few years, and the incredible legacy of the man is a shame. Perhaps worse than the quality of the matches is that particularly before his comeback at this year’s Summerslam he was looking more than mortal, to the extend more than a few were concerned for his well-being. With his health looking markedly better hopefully, this year he can go out on a high, with a high-quality match against Daniel Bryan or a big event match against John Cena at a major event. I also want to see him lose, something I know it felt he did a lot of against Lesnar but after the damage done to the Wyatt Family he needs to put over someone who needs the kind of rub The Undertaker can still provide. Remember Taker, it’s because I love you.
I ask for this not so much in reference to the event itself but to what was done with New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestlekingdom 9 this past year. Through a tie-up with Jeff Jarrett and his fledgling Global Force Wrestling promotion, Wrestlekingdom 9 was available direct on PPV in the USA and across the world online, critically it also had commentary in English for these outlets provided by a top tier team of Jim Ross and Matt Striker. This was the first time a major New Japan event had been available like this, and I want more, Wrestlekingdom 9 featured some of the best talents in the world putting on some of the best matches in the world with each other so why wouldn’t I? I’d watch more New Japan, but a block to that is having trouble connecting with anything beyond the matches themselves which isn’t always enough. Having English commentary went a long way to solving this problem as much as you can when everything original is in Japanese.
More presentations like this could also open up other promotions to the rest of the world, AAA and CMLL in Mexico for example. The only caveat I have on this is if someone is going to do this then do it right, AAA tried it but the production values and distribution were so poor that if it was your first exposure to the product, you were unlikely to go back.
But the opportunity to see other major shows from the other biggest promotions in the world is one I definitely want more of.
NXT booking for the main women
Several of my favourite matches this year have been women’s matches in NXT, likewise, several of my favourite performers this year were women in NXT. These same women who were involved in all of those matches, at least partially, are now on the main roster in WWE. And I just don’t care. Well actually that’s not strictly true, I do care but only as far as hoping Becky Lynch has the chance to put on more match of the year contenders, that Charlotte can get to play the same character for more than a month at a time and that Sasha Banks can be allowed to go on to be one of the biggest stars in the industry like she should. So what’s changed?
No matter how many times the words “Divas Revolution” are said, it doesn’t change things by itself. Despite putting much of the on-air talent responsible for the NXT women’s division onto the main roster and giving them more air time it’s still resulting in the same poor, nonsensical product that’s been produced for years, and this is a result of how it’s being handled creatively with characters constantly changing, flipping non-stop between face and heel, with little reason behind anything. Not that the matches have been stellar so far but with a lack of any reason to care it doesn’t matter.
So this year I want stability and reason to be applied to women’s wrestling on the main roster. If Ronda Rousey can be the biggest star in MMA and they can do it in NXT, it can surely happen on the main roster.
A Chance For Cesaro
There are multiple wrestlers in WWE who need a decent chance but I’m of the opinion Cesaro is top of that list. While others have had the occasional but maybe too brief main event program or decent program with a main guy, Cesaro hasn’t, at all. Despite crafting an entertaining tag team with Tyson Kidd out of nothing and putting on awesome matches with John Cena among others, Cesaro just can’t seem to catch a break. Whether it was Vince McMahon’s infamous statement that he can’t connect with the audience or a less than great run with Paul Heyman as his manager, Cesaro has had his level set. He’s also now been a victim of bad luck as he’s suffered a long term injury just when he may have had a chance there.
So what I want this year is when Cesaro returns, to see him in a true feud with someone. My pick would be Brock Lesnar, as aside from what would be incredible matches, there’s history to draw on there. But being realistic, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, John Cena, Rusev or Daniel Bryan would all fit the bill. Surely one of them is free for a couple of months.
A Job For JR
To provide a quick history lesson Jim Ross began his career in professional wrestling in 1974, has been a referee, announcer, booker, on-air talent and various backstage roles. He’s generally considered the greatest play-by-play announcer in the history of the sport and had this role as well as operating as vice-president of talent relations for the then-WWF during the company’s most successful period ever. Basically, he hired much of the on-air talent that made the WWF successful during the Attitude era then help tell the stories through his announcing role. Yet, not one promotion can find a role for him.
Now I appreciate the man is semi-retired and would only take certain roles, but even a part-time announcing gig or consultant would surely benefit all concerned. Imagine the likes of ROH or PWG getting someone with the experience and knowledge of JR to turn to when they needed to. How about JR working with their announce teams? Or as an announcer? And before this gets dismissed as fantasy JR has said via Twitter he’d be up for calling an ROH show alongside their current announce team. His work for GWF calling Wrestlekingdom 9 was as good as it always has been but left us all wanting more. If there really is no opportunity or desire for him in wrestling anymore then fine, in 2014, he called a boxing event and an MMA PPV in 2014. But if I never get to hear another thing labelled a Slobberknocker again, it really will be a tragedy for the wrestling industry.
Hopefully, this all comes true for 2016 as I don’t think I’m being selfish or ridiculous at all. But if I am, as ever please let me know in the comments or twitter @themarcuswood